Meet this year's kids
Jackson Bensten, Age 2
As soon as Jackson Bensten of Hampton was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in February 2009, his mom, Jessica, and dad, Everett, went into research mode.
“My husband and I are really into research and we felt we needed to offer Jackson very best,” Jessica said. “We had people emailing and calling us and telling us we needed to pack our bags and get on a plane.”
The Benstens discovered that CHKD offered the world’s latest and most effective chemotherapy for his condition, a therapy called immunotherapy.
Jackson’s condition, neuroblastoma, the most common cancer diagnosed in the first year of life, sometimes starts growing before the child is born. It is notoriously difficult to treat because the cancer cells use a kind of biological invisibility cloak to hide from the body’s immune system.
The therapy used by doctors at CHKD essentially strips the cloak away and allows the immune systems to destroy the cancer cells.
“It drastically increased Jackson’s chances of beating the cancer,” Jessica said. “CHKD is not just our hometown hospital. They follow the cutting edge everywhere. They’re doing the very best stuff here.”